How to Become an EKG Technician in Iowa

Skilled healthcare workers are increasingly in demand throughout the U.S. including in the state of Iowa. EKG technicians are among these professions. They earn good money, enjoy job security and do not need a college degree to start working.

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An EKG technician assists nurses and doctors in performing electrocardiogram (EKG) tests. An EKG is a test that monitor’s a patient’s heart to determine any abnormalities or if they have had a heart attack. An EKG may also be performed as a stress test, with the patient exercising. To become an EKG technician in Iowa does not require a degree or any state-level certification or licensing.

Requirements for Working as an EKG Tech in Iowa

An EKG technician must have specialized skills to do the job but not a degree or any specific certificate. These techs are responsible for setting up EKG tests, attaching electrodes to the patient’s body and reviewing the results to ensure the quality of the test.

In Iowa, to perform these tasks does not require any specific education, training or license. Requirements are set by employers. Some will train new technicians on the job and generally require that these job candidates have a high school diploma. Other employers only hire technicians with some healthcare experience or those who have completed a course or short program in EKG technology.

EKG Training Programs in Iowa

If you are serious about this career, it’s a good idea to complete an EKG program at a community or career college. This will set you apart from other, untrained candidates for the best jobs. Iowa has several educational opportunities to help you become an EKG tech:

  • Kirkwood Community College. Located in Cedar Rapids, this community college offers an EKG Technician Training Course with 60 hours of learning and training. The course is pass/fail and prepares students to begin entry-level work in the field and pass the National Health Career Association Certified EKG Technician exam.
  • Northeast Iowa Community College. Northeast’s EKG Technician Program prepares graduates to begin working in the industry. Students learn heart anatomy, medical diseases, medical ethics, electrocardiography, EKG components, lead placement and more.
  • Black Hawk College. Students in the Quad Cities can enroll in the EKG Technician program at Black Hawk’s East Moline campus. The course takes place on six Saturdays, for three hours each day. Students learn the skills necessary to begin working and to pass the national certification exam.

National Certification Programs

Certification as an EKG technician is not required in Iowa, unless employers request it specifically. Holding a nationally recognized certification has benefits, including better job placement, proof of skills and in some cases a higher salary. There are two main certification organizations for EKG techs:

  • National Health Career Association (NHCA). The NHCA offers an exam to certify EKG professionals. You must have completed a training program or one year of EKG work experience and have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for the exam.
  • American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT). This organization offers an EKG certification as well. To qualify to take the exam you must join the ASPT, have completed an EKG training program or have work experience, have a verification letter and have an example of an EKG you performed.

Salary Expectations and Job Growth in Iowa

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians in Iowa earn slightly less than the national average. The data shows that the average annual salary for these professionals in Iowa is $62,250, compared to the national average of $66,170. The wage distribution within the state reveals significant variations across different regions, reflecting local economic conditions and demand for these professionals.

National vs. Iowa Salaries:

Location 10th Percentile 25th Percentile Median (50th Percentile) 75th Percentile 90th Percentile
United States $36,620 $44,160 $66,170 $85,930 $105,140
Iowa $37,350 $44,200 $62,250 $77,850 $85,120

Salaries and Percentiles by Region within Iowa:

Region 10th Percentile 25th Percentile Median (50th Percentile) 75th Percentile 90th Percentile
Cedar Rapids, IA $38,740 $39,020 $62,880 $86,110 $108,710
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL $38,750 $49,500 $68,040 $76,760 $95,790
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA $37,120 $37,350 $51,220 $78,260 $82,820
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA $38,480 $40,090 $51,220 $63,730 $82,770
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA $50,760 $58,260 $62,370 $79,130 $83,100

EKG TechnicianTrends in Iowa

The employment trends for cardiovascular technologists and technicians in Iowa indicate moderate growth over the decade from 2020 to 2030. In 2020, there were 390 individuals employed in this occupation in Iowa, and this number is projected to increase to 420 by 2030, reflecting an 8% growth rate. Additionally, there are expected to be about 30 job openings annually during this period, which includes positions due to both growth and replacement needs.

Nationally, the employment for cardiovascular technologists and technicians was 58,900 in 2022, with a projected increase to 61,100 by 2032, indicating a 4% growth rate. The average annual job openings nationally are projected to be around 3,900.

Table of the Data

Location Employment (2020/2022) Projected Employment (2030/2032) Projected Growth (%) Projected Annual Job Openings
Iowa 390 (2020) 420 (2030) 8% 30
United States 58,900 (2022) 61,100 (2032) 4% 3,900
Source of data:
  • Iowa source: Projections Central 2020-2030 long-term projections.
  • United States source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2022-2032 employment projections.

EKG Job Opportunities

Most EKG techs work in hospitals, but also look at other types of medical centers, physician and specialist offices and medical diagnostic laboratories for employment. With such high demand for qualified workers, finding a job should not be difficult anywhere in Iowa. The greatest number of opportunities will be in the major metropolitan centers: Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Sioux City.